What is Options for Knowledge?
Options for Knowledge is the "umbrella" term that is inclusive of all of the specialty schools/programs that students can apply to outside of their neighborhood school. These consist of elementary and high school magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, high school magnet programs, open enrollment schools, regional gifted centers, classical schools, academic centers, international gifted programs, International Baccalaureate schools, and selective enrollment high schools. These specialty programs, and the application, selection, and notification process, are managed by the Office of Academic Enhancement.
How do I apply to Options for Knowledge schools and programs?
You may submit an online application or a paper application. You are encouraged to submit your application using the online application process, which is provides for faster processing and improved communication. To apply online, visit www.apply.cps.edu and request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to begin the process. To apply with a paper application, visit www.cpsoae.org and download the application of your choice under “Apply” and "Application Materials."
Does my child have to take a test to get into an Options for Knowledge school?
Most schools select students through a computerized lottery – no testing is required. However, we do have schools designed for academically advanced students – Regional Gifted Centers, Classical Schools, Academic Centers, International Gifted Programs, and Selective Enrollment High Schools. For these schools, admission testing is required.
In addition, for Academic Centers, International Gifted Programs, and Selective Enrollment High Schools, the selection process includes the student’s prior year’s standardized test scores and final grades.
Schools that require testing do not conduct a computerized lottery.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply to these schools, and testing accommodations will be provided in accordance with the student’s IEP.
What is the difference between regional gifted centers and classical schools?
Both regional gifted centers and classical schools serve academically advanced students at the elementary school level. Both types of schools accelerate learning so that there is time for projects, term papers and group work that takes the learner deeper into the subject matter, and the curriculum for both types of schools includes a world language component.
Regional gifted centers place an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity. The test for regional gifted centers assesses the student's critical thinking skills and reasoning abilities.
Classical schools place an emphasis on scholarship with a liberal arts focus. The test for classical schools assesses the student's reading, language arts, and mathematics abilities.
How will I know if a school has received my child's application?
If you submit an online application, you will receive an email confirmation when your application is received. If you submit a paper application, we recommend that you enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard with your application. The postcard will be mailed back to you as notification that your application has been received.
When will I find out if my child has been accepted to an Options for Knowledge school?
Notification letters will be mailed according to the schedule below:
|All high schools:
||Week of February 18, 2012|
|All elementary schools:
||Week of March 23, 2012|
Results cannot be given to parents via telephone. If you do not receive a notification letter within two weeks of the designated date, contact the Office of Academic Enhancement at (773) 553-2060.
Is transportation provided?
The following types of transportation are provided to elementary school students:
Gifted Program transportation service: This service is provided only to students attending Regional Gifted Centers. Students must live more than 1.5 miles from the school in order to receive transportation service (with the exception of Carnegie, which provides transportation to students living between 3900 South and 7500 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the western city limits; and Coonley, which provides transportation to students living between 900 North and the North city limits, and Lake Shore Drive.
Classical School transportation service: This service is provided to students enrolled in one of the five Classical Schools. Transportation is provided to students who reside more than 1.5 miles from the school and within the boundaries identified below:
||North City Limits
||Fullerton Avenue (2400 North)|
||Fullerton Avenue (2400 North)
||Pershing Road (3900 South)
||Foster Avenue (5200 North)
||Cermak Road (2200 South)
||Pershing Road (3900 South)
||106th St. South|
||71st St. South
||South City Limits|
Magnet school transportation service: In most cases, school bus transportation is provided to students attending elementary magnet schools who live more than 1.5 miles but less than 6 miles from the school. For students attending Davis, Disney II, Kershaw, LaSalle II, and Mayer, the Bureau of Transportation Services will provide Chicago Transit Authority fare cards or travel reimbursements for parents and guardians of students who qualify for transportation.
Magnet cluster school transportation: Transportation is not provided for incoming students to magnet cluster schools.Academic Centers and International Baccalaureate Preparatory Programs: Transportation is provided to students who live more than 1.5 miles from the school. Students must get to a designated pick-up location; no bus route will require a student to ride the bus for more than 60 minutes each way.
Bus transportation is not generally provided for high school students. Transportation at the elementary and high school levels is provided to students with disabilities if the IEP or 504 Plan requires it. Transportation may also be provided to homeless students upon enrollment. Contact the Office of Specialized Services at (773) 553-1800 for more information.
Note: All transportation provisions and policies are subject to modification.
I applied to 20 Options for Knowledge schools, and my child wasn't accepted to any! How can this be?
Because of the limited number of spaces available, there is no guarantee that your child will be accepted to any school. Most available spaces are at the entry-level grades (kindergarten or first grade, and ninth grade). You are encouraged to apply to all of the schools in which you are interested. You are also encouraged to apply to more than just the magnet schools that are most familiar to you—we have many excellent magnet cluster schools and open enrollment schools throughout the city. Be sure to take the time to research all of the options available.
Do I have another chance to apply if my child isn't accepted into to any Options for Knowledge schools?
Yes. If additional spaces are available after the fall application process has ended, an end-of-year application process is conducted in the spring. This applies to magnet schools, magnet cluster schools and open enrollment schools only.
Can students with disabilities apply to Magnet or Gifted Schools and Programs?
All students with disabilities are eligible to apply to magnet and gifted schools and programs. Appropriate services within these programs will be provided to meet individual needs. If a student is selected by lottery for a magnet school or program that is not accessible, transportation will be provided to a comparable magnet program at an accessible school.
Are students with disabilities required to meet entrance exam requirements for enrollment?
Students with disabilities are required to take entrance tests at schools that require them. Applicable test accommodations described in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will be made available. For example, if a child has a fine motor impairment and cannot fill in the bubbles on the answer sheet, a person will be provided to scribe for them. A child with a visual impairment may require large print or Braille. The goal is always to measure the student’s knowledge or ability, and not the disability. However, to be considered for any program for academically advanced students, all applicants need to earn a score that demonstrates they can compete and succeed in an accelerated program. Depending on the applicant pool, some students with disabilities may be accepted with lower test scores than general education students. However, no student will be admitted whose score is not representative of a student who can succeed in an advanced environment.
Can English Language Learners (ELL) apply to Magnet and Gifted Schools and Programs?
Yes. All ELLs are eligible to apply to magnet schools and programs. Additionally, there are several Regional Gifted Centers that are designed specifically for ELL students.
What is a computerized lottery?
Computerized lotteries are conducted to ensure that all children have an equal chance to be accepted at schools that do not require testing. A computer program randomly selects students to fill the spaces in each grade. There are three types of lotteries:
- Sibling lottery: conducted only for students who have a brother or sister in the same household who already attends the school to which the student is applying, and who will still be enrolled in that school in the 2011-2012 school year.
- Proximity lottery: conducted at magnet schools only. This lottery is for students who live within a 1.5 mile radius of elementary magnet schools, and a 2.5 mile radius of magnet high schools.
- General lottery: conducted for all students not included in the sibling or proximity lotteries.
A percentage of students not selected through the lottery are placed on waiting lists.
Who should I contact if I have more questions about getting into an Options for Knowledge school, or if I want more information about the programs?
For further information, call the Office of Academic Enhancement at (773) 553-2060.